Three of a Kind

posted by Bridget on 26 February 2014

The iconography of Edouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergèreis found in surprising places.

folies bergere

Jeff Wall's re-interpretation of Manet's painting: Picture for Women [1979]. Click on the image to listen to David Campany explain why he remains "perplexed" by this photograph.

Picture for Women

In 1986 Martin Parr photographed in New Brighton and captured a young woman, gazing into his camera. The similarities between both Manet's painting and Jeff Wall's interpretation, Picture for Women, are remarkable.

new brighton

The forward position of a young woman, her direct gaze starring out of the image and the crowd at the back of the frame clearly echo Manet's composition, but it is the linear architecture of the windows that appear to reference Wall's studio location, dividing the photograph into sections in much the same way.

Comparisions between Parr's photograph and Manet's painting have been made before, even though unlike Jeff Wall, Parr was not deliberately re-creating Manet's painting.

What is fascinating to see when these three images are viewed together are the complexities of each image's composition, and how each artist takes the viewer beyond the surface gaze, into the rich depths of the scene they are seeking to create.

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